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Adam Felber

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March 4, 2003

It’s hard to know what to say, really.
The Bush administration has decided to reject the recommendation of a special government commission to place Saudi Arabia on an American blacklist of countries that violate religious freedom.
From Newsweek. [09:16 AM]
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Comments on It's hard to know what to say, really.:

Jaquandor ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2003, 09:30 AM:

It's OK, really. It's all part of the plan, just watch. Once we've taken Iraq over, then those pesky Saudis will be dealt with. (Insert evil cackle here....)

CHuck Nolan ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2003, 03:03 PM:

Money talks, after all. (See Carlyle group, Arbusto, etc.)

Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2003, 04:04 PM:

Here's the reason why.

"Election.com, a struggling Garden City start-up scheduled to provide online absentee ballots for U.S. military personnel in the 2004 federal election, has quietly sold controlling power to an investment group with ties to unnamed Saudi nationals, according to company correspondence."


Rachel Heslin ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2003, 01:39 AM:

Does anyone have a transcription of CJ's speech on "West Wing" when the school girls burned to death in Saudi Arabia because the firemen weren't allowed inside a girl's school?

The rant tightly but calmly listed a number of atrocities and ended with, "Am I outraged? But these are our Partners In Peace."

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2003, 11:25 AM:

They (also) burned to death because they weren't allowed out. The same scumbags who wouldn't let the firemen in prevented the girls from leaving, because they weren't able to grab their headscarves before fleeing the blaze.

IIRC they were already beyond help by the time the firemen arrived; being locked in a burning building has a low survival rate.

Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2003, 08:02 PM:

As awful as it sounds, I think it would be a sign of social progress in Saudi Arabia if mobs of women occasionaly cornered lone Virtue Cops and subject them to a thorough pounding, disrobing, and various humiliations.

James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2003, 12:10 AM:

I kinda wonder what good "blacklisting" countries is supposed to do.

Sylvia Li ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2003, 12:18 AM:

If the method of selecting the blacklist is widely seen to be impartial, it's a method of shaming those countries that are on it. That can be worth something. Amnesty International's reports, for instance, do have value. If the selection process appears to be biased, then the list only translates to "we don't like you," which is fairly useless except as a means of insulting nations you don't like.

barney gumble ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2003, 04:19 PM:

My name is America. (hi America!) Oil has taken over my life. I will do anything to get it, and I've done some things for oil that I'm so ashamed of...

K Harris ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2003, 09:27 AM:


Sadly, maintaining these lists does something beyond saying "we don't like you" to some nations. It creates the opportunity for countries that clearly should be on the list to stay off. Nobody likes the process, but US/Saudi diplomacy is sufficiently perverse that you have to wonder whether their isn't some diplomatic upside to being able to keep the Saudis off when they belong on.

All of this, by the way, is terrible for relations between the State Department and Congress. State gets the task of assessing who belongs on this (and other) list(s) from Congress. Members who don't want Saudi Arabia let off the hook are happy to cut State's budget, making legitimate diplomacy harder.

David Lloyd-Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2003, 12:38 PM:

During Desert Storm Orthodox Jews were judiciously inconspicuous in their (our) worship while on Saudi soil. That is to say many reports were published, both on the Web and in the regular press, about how Shabbat services were being held in tents, but that everybody was taking care not to publicise that fact.

Now then, what is to be done about Richard Perle? I'd say Ambassador to Riyadh would be about right...